Three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas’ aspirations for the 2024 Paris Olympics have been dashed. Douglas officially withdrew from the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Wednesday due to an ankle injury. This withdrawal precludes her from qualifying for the Olympic Trials, ending her bid for a third Olympic appearance.

Douglas, a beloved figure in the gymnastics world, had already pulled out of the 2024 Core Hydration Classic after just one event a few weeks prior. Her recent injuries have derailed her plans to compete in Paris.

If Douglas had made the 2024 team, it would have marked her third appearance for Team USA. She first captivated the world as the 2012 Olympic all-around champion in London and followed up with a strong performance in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. However, she did not participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Douglas remains undeterred and is already setting her sights on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. “My plan is to continue to train for the L.A. 2028 Olympics,” Douglas told Sports Illustrated. “It would be such an honor to represent the U.S. at a home Olympics.”

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The U.S. Gymnastics Championships, set to begin on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, will proceed without one of its most iconic athletes. Douglas’s absence will undoubtedly be felt, but her determination to aim for the 2028 Games is optimistic.

Douglas’ withdrawal is a significant moment for U.S. gymnastics. As a pioneer and role model, her decision to focus on long-term recovery and preparation for future competitions displays the importance of athlete health and well-being over immediate accolades. Her commitment to returning stronger for the 2028 Olympics will inspire many, reminding us all of the relentless pursuit of excellence that defines Olympic champions.

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